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Power Pole Accidents a Common Occurence

07 March 2017

Power Pole Accidents a Common Occurence

Energy company, Vector, says vehicles crashed into its Auckland electricity equipment 541 times last year, resulting in power outages across the region.

Drivers hit Vector’s power poles 268 times, pillars 253 times (small green boxes) and transformers 20 times in 2016. This compares with a total of 486 in 2015.

These numbers don’t include light posts, sign posts, or telecommunication poles managed by other entities. Vector’s Chief Networks Officer, Andre Botha, says August last year was the toughest month with 60 vehicles striking its network, over half of them crashing into power poles.

“Power pole accidents are more common than people think. Yesterday alone we had three, with one in Whitford being particularly bad. The average over the last few weeks has been eight a week and this Waitangi weekend alone there were 6,” says Mr Botha.

“These incidents always mean we have to treat the site as a safety risk to the public and our crews. There is a serious risk of electrocution for passengers and emergency teams which is why we shut off power remotely and then physically disconnect lines at the site for extra safety.

“Our message is simple - be careful. We can replace power poles but we can’t replace lives.”

Yesterday’s accidents happened in Epsom, Glen Innes, and on Sandstone Road in Whitford. Counties Manukau Police’s serious crash unit recently made this video about an accident hot spot on Whitford Road, also the location of a number of car v pole accidents.


When the site of a vehicle v pole accident is de-energised and everyone is safe, Vector crews work to replace the pole. They gradually restore power to customers in the affected area until repairs are completed and power is fully restored. On average, a pole replacement takes 6 hours but this can be longer in bad weather conditions, heavy traffic, and where there is complex wiring and vegetation.

Other common causes of power outages:
• Trees falling or putting pressure on lines
• People digging and hitting underground cables
• Bird strike and other animals – surprisingly common
• Trucks, campervans, towed vehicles and construction machinery bringing down overhead lines
• House fires requiring Vector to isolate some parts of the network for emergency services.


© Scoop Media

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